The Ultimate Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitar Songs

The Ultimate Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitar Songs

So what are the top 10 best acoustic guitar songs?  Well, it turns out there’s a lot of lists out there.  Some are put out by traditional publications, and some by connoisseurs.  After looking at a variety of lists, there are several songs that keep cropping up.  This got us thinking:  What if you could cross-reference the lists and come up with the 10 acoustic guitar songs that they all had in common?   So that’s what we did.

  • We took “Top Acoustic Guitar Song” lists from 8 different sources, from Acoustic Guitar Magazine to guitaralliance.com (see full list below).  Some were curated lists by editors, others crowd-sourced.
  • We sorted them in an Excel file to identify the repeats.
  • Then we ranked the top 10 songs by A) number of times on the lists, and B) placement on the lists.

We also published a Part 2 of this post here, as well as a list of top fingerpicking songs for beginners.

The Ultimate Top 10 Acoustic Guitar Songs

(and, yes, it’s a bit heavy on the rock’n’roll…)

1.  “Yesterday” by The Beatles – The clear #1.  It showed up on half the lists, and often in top spot.

2.  “Hotel California” by The Eagles – Another clear winner, showing up in multiple lists near the top.  The opening chord progression is ingrained in acoustic guitar consciousness.

3.  “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd – Another classic, and probably on the ‘one-of-the-first-songs-I-learned-to-play’ list of most guitar players.

4.  “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac – Admit it, that picking pattern has haunted every acoustic player’s head for weeks (or longer).

5.  “Angie” by Rolling Stone – The Rolling Stones are not usually thought of for putting out acoustic music, but this is a great one.

6.  “Heart of Gold” by Neil Young – Whatever Neil Young ever lacked in technique he made up in heart.

7.  “More Than Words” by Extreme – The ultimate song to bust out at a party.  It’s always shocking how many of your friends know the words.

8.  “Tears In Heaven” by Eric Clapton – Clapton’s Live Unplugged album is classic and, to be fair, his version of “Layla” on that album made it on quite a few of the lists also.

9.  “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley – That intro is so simple, but completely unique and catchy.   This on my own ‘one-of-the-first-songs-I-learned-to-play’ list.

10.  “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin – It’s slightly relieving to see this at the bottom of the Top 10, given all the hoopla from Wayne’s World.  Yes, it’s a great song.  No, I do not play it every time I go into a guitar store.

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BONUS ROUND.  A few more for consideration:

11.  “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor – Deceptively simple, pretty much like all James Taylor songs.

12.  “Blackbird” by The Beatles – This guitar riff alone is worth learning the acoustic for.

13.  “The Joker” by Steve Miller Band – Another great song for parties.  This one is more surprising for how many of the words your friends don’t know.  Usually the “any of your peaches” line gets a few go rounds.

14.  “Wonderwall” by Oasis – Competing with “More Than Words” for top 90’s Acoustic Guitar song.

15.  “Dust In The Wind” by Kansas – It’s surprising that this didn’t show up in the top 10.  But maybe a lot of folks got the picking pattern confused with “Landslide”?

Did we get one wrong?  Let us know in the comments below.

Or is there another list we should have looked at?  Again, let us know.

Sources:
Top 50 from guitaralliance.com   http://guitaralliance.com/2013/02/top-50-acoustic-guitar-songs/
Top 25 from musicradar.com   http://www.musicradar.com/us/news/guitars/the-25-best-acoustic-songs-of-all-time-584379/1
Top 50 from guitarworld  http://www.guitarworld.com/gw-archive-features-gear-galleries-photos-blogs-acoustic-nation/50-classic-acoustic-rock-songs
Top 100 from guitartricks  http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/31WdMF/#
Top 40 from Planet rock  http://www.planetrock.com/music/backstage/the-rock-lists/the-best-ever-acoustic-rock-song-the-top-40/
Top 50 from Acoustic guitar magazine http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/archive/index.php?t-1003943.html
Top 10 from top10s.com  http://www.thetoptens.com/best-acoustic-rock-songs/
Top 10 from Inacoustic.com  http://www.inacoustic.com/blog/2011/09/top-10-acoustic-songs-of-all-time/